Preview: Western powers Seattle, RSL clash at the CLink

SEA vs. RSL, 5-12-12

Photo Credit: 
Gabriel de los Rios / MLSsoccer.com

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC vs REAL SALT LAKE
CENTURYLINK FIELD, Seattle, Wash.
May 12, 2012 (WEEK 10, MLS Game #94)
10 p.m. ET (KING-5; KTVX-ABC4)

A massive clash in the Western Conference is ahead on Saturday evening when Seattle Sounders FC entertain Real Salt Lake. Real currently lead the West and the MLS overall table by one point, ahead of Seattle and San Jose. Sounders FC are riding a club-record five-game winning streak with shutouts in the last three after a 2-0 midweek win at FC Dallas, while Real are unbeaten in four after a midweek scoreless draw at the Chicago Fire.

REFEREE: Mark Geiger. SAR (bench): Joe Fletcher; JAR (opposite): Mike Rottersman; 4th: Daniel Radford
MLS Career: 94 games; FC/gm: 26.2; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 20; pens: 31

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INJURY REPORT:

  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC - OUT: GK Josh Ford (R knee stress fracture); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); DF Michael Tetteh (L hamstring strain); FW Babayele Sodade (R knee ACL tear); DOUBTFUL: GK Michael Gspurning (R hip strain)
  • REAL SALT LAKE - DOUBTFUL: FW Cody Arnoux (L adductor strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Javier Morales (R quad strain); PROBABLE: GK Nick Rimando (R shoulder impingement)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: SEA: Zach Scott (through May 12)

WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Kyle Beckerman
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SEA: Fredy Montero, Zach Scott ... RSL: Javier Morales, Jamison Olave

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 7 goals ... Real 2 wins, 6 goals ... Ties 2

AT SEATTLE (3 meetings): Sounders FC 1 win, 3 goals ... Real 1 win, 2 goals ... Ties 1

RETURN MATCHES: 7/4: Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 8 p.m. MT; 10/17: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 7 p.m. PT

LAST YEAR (MLS):

5/28: RSL 1, SEA 2 (Gonzalez 87 - Ianni 71; Neagle 84)
9/10: SEA 1, RSL 2 (Montero 45 - own goal 12; Saborio 56)

  • The road team won each meeting in the league series last year, Sounders FC winning 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium, and RSL winning 2-1 at CenturyLink Field on Sept. 10.
  • The clubs also met in a tense Western Conference Semifinal Series, Real winning the first leg 3-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium, then advancing on aggregate despite a 2-0 loss at CenturyLink Field in the return match.
  • Coaches record: Jason Kreis vs. SEA: P6 W2 L2 D2 ... Sigi Schmid vs. RSL: P6 W2 L2 D2

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC

Seattle Sounders FC extended their winning run to five matches with yet another shutout, in a 2-0 defeat of FC Dallas on Wednesday evening at FC Dallas Stadium. Sounders FC are tied for second place in the Western Conference with 22 points from 9 games.

LAST MATCH

HIGHLIGHTS: Sounders take down Dallas

  • Substitute Fredy Montero scored both goals in a four-minute span midway through the second half. First, in the 68th minute, the Seattle striker received the ball on the right side of the box and skipped between two FC Dallas defenders before blasting a shot near-side past FCD goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
  • Then in the 71st minute, Alex Caskey drove in a low cross from the left that bounced up off a defender and Montero met it with a diving header in front of his marker.
  • Sounders FC goalkeeper Bryan Meredith made five saves on the night, his best an acrobatic leap to his right to parry a Scott Sealy header in the 35th minute.
  • Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made six changes to the team that claimed a 1-0 defeat of Philadelphia Union at CenturyLink Field. Zach Scott and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado came into the back four for Adam Johansson and Patrick Ianni, Brad Evans started in midfield for Osvaldo Alonso, and Eddie Johnson came in for Fredy Montero up top.
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Bryan Meredith - Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch - Mauro Rosales (Fredy Montero 46), Andy Rose, Brad Evans (Servando Carrasco 77), Alex Caskey - David Estrada (Cordell Cato 66), Eddie Johnson.

TEAM NEWS

  • Sounders FC have tied a club record with their fifth consecutive victory, equaling the mark set Sept. 18-Oct. 15, 2010. The win also extended Seattle's unbeaten streak in away games to eight; the MLS record is 12, set in 2010 by FC Dallas.
  • "As a team this is our fifth win in a row, which is a franchise record for us," said goalkeeper Bryan Meredith. "It's very exciting. It was a great game. Sometimes you have to grind it out defensively, but the defense again did a great job. You have to give most of the credit to the defense for playing from minute 1 to minute 90 at 100 percent."
  • With three consecutive shutouts, Sounders FC have not allowed a goal in 273 minutes, the sixth-longest shutout streak in club history. The club record is 379 minutes, set during the 2010 season.
  • Anatomy of a Goal: Rosales vs. Union

  • "They work for each other. They get in the way. They block shots. They help each other. They cover for each other. You know they take a lot of pride in keeping things away from goal," said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. "I think our goalkeepers don't have to make a lot of big saves because we're doing a lot of saves in front of them and when they do they're able to come up with it and do well with it. So it's a mindset and the mindset is with our midfielders and forwards as well in terms of making plays predictable."
  • With three games in a week, Fredy Montero was kept out of the starting lineup for the first time this season. But coming on as a halftime substitute, he scored his second and third goals of the season.
  • "It's our fourth game in 10 days, so we had a lot of tired bodies out there you know, but you try to get people through it," said Schmid. "That's why we tried to cut the minutes for [Mauro] Rosales. We tried to cut Montero's minutes as well to keep us as fresh as possible because we have another game on the weekend. But I thought our team responded well. I thought we defended well, which we've done all season."
  • It was the sixth two-goal game of Montero's MLS career. "It's a great feeling coming off the bench. I try to do my best and do what Sigi told me and it was a big surprise for me to score those two goals and get the three points," Montero said. "Obviously when you are winning games you want to keep working and doing the same stuff. We tried to jump into the field and just enjoy the game."
  • Meredith has not allowed a goal in 225 minutes of play this season, deputizing for Michael Gspurning since coming in in relief at halftime of the LA Galaxy game.
  • "It's been fun," said Meredith. "You've got to be ready to step in and done the job at any time, which sometimes makes a backup position tough. I was prepared correctly before every game and luckily I've been able to extend our win streak."

REAL SALT LAKE

Real Salt Lake stretched their unbeaten string to four games, going to Toyota Park and coming away with a scoreless draw with the Chicago Fire on Wednesday evening. Real now lead the Western Conference with 23 points from 12 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: Fire, RSL go scoreless in Chicago

LAST MATCH

  • The teams settled into a dour midfield battle for much of the contest. Kyle Reynish, deputizing for the injured Nick Rimando, was forced to make just one save in the RSL goal. Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson was called upon to make two saves.
  • The closest either team came after just four minutes. A cross from the Fire's Patrick Nyarko found Dominic Oduro wide open in the six-yard box, but the forward's point-blank header hit the crossbar and was cleared.
  • RSL head coach Jason Kreis made four changes to the team that came back for a 2-1 win against the New England Revolution at Rio Tinto Stadium. Kyle Reynish came in between the posts for Nick Rimando, Chris Schuler started at center back for Nat Borchers, Jonny Steele replaced the suspended Will Johnson in midfield, and Paulo Junior came in for Fabian Espindola up top.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Kyle Reynish - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert - Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Jonny Steele - Javier Morales (Luis Gil 28 / Yordany Alvarez 90) - Paulo Junior (Emiliano Bonfigli 67), Alvaro Saborio.

TEAM NEWS

  • Real posted a shutout for the first time in more than a month - since the 2-0 win vs. Colorado on April 7. They had allowed eight goals over the previous five games.
  • "Any time you can go to a difficult place like Chicago and get a point and get a shutout, it's important," said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. "We've gone quite a few games now without having a shutout. I'm really pleased for the guys, they put the defensive work in and we set an objective to get a shutout and we got it."
  • With goalkeeper Nick Rimando sidelined with a shoulder injury, Kyle Reynish stepped in between the posts. He has not lost a league start in his MLS career (1-0-4), with three clean sheets.
  • "I don't think he had to make too many incredible stops but when he was called upon, he made them. So I am really pleased for him as well. He gets an opportunity and he takes advantage of it," said Kreis. Said Reynish: "It's always a good booster, but credit to the defense and everyone in front of me. I really didn't have too much to do, besides one or two saves. Nothing that was too tough, so credit to them on the Fire offense. ... After that early header off the crossbar, I thought everyone got on it and stepped up."
  • Kyle Beckerman - Favorite XI

  • Rimando is expected to be available for the Seattle match this weekend.
  • "They are some pretty big shoes to fill. Whenever I get the chance to help the team get some points, I am happy for that result," said Reynish. " ... Last I heard, Nick's supposed to be back in time for Seattle, but if his shoulder is still hurting ... I've actually have another start up in Seattle so at least I am somewhat comfortable with being in front of 38,000 fans."
  • With Will Johnson suspended, Jonny Steele came in on the left side of midfield with Ned Grabavoy moving to the right.
  • "There's a lot of talk about how you're going to deal with their wingers," said Kreis. "I think our outside midfielders, [Jonny] Steele and [Ned] Grabavoy, did a fantastic job - tremendous effort by them to get back and double team as many times as they did tonight."
  • Chris Schuler came into central defense for Nat Borchers, making his seventh start of the season.
  • "See that big zero on the board. Objective completed," Schuler said. "They had some really clear cut chances in the first half ... besides that, took a lot of heat in the second half, but it's good to get out of here with a zero which was my job more or less. I thought we were pretty solid. We were a tough block to break down today."
  • Real were also shut out offensively for the first time since the 1-0 loss at Sporting KC on April 14."We got a half chance here and there, especially at the beginning of the second half, and on a different night I feel like Paulo buries one and walk out of here with all three points," said Kreis. "The number of attacking chances that you create isn't always that important. It's certainly important for us at home where we have an aggressive mentality, but when we are away, it's not necessarily the number of attacking chances, but maybe the quality of them."
  • After winning their first two games of the season away from Rio Tinto Stadium, RSL is winless in their last four on the road, though they've come away with draws in the last two.
  • "Anytime we're on the road we feel like it starts with our defensive effort - it starts with trying to keep a shutout - and then we go from there," said Kreis. "So I think that the guys put in a tremendous amount of effort to make that happen tonight."